For the fifty-second consecutive year, the hills and trails around Moab Utah on Easter of 2018 were chock-full of, no, not Easter eggs or chocolate bunnies, but Jeeps—lots of Jeeps. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari attracted about 1,500 registered participants this year for the spring extravaganza. That many extra people may not be a big deal to some larger cities, but it increases Moab’s normal population of 5,242 by almost 30%, making it cozy within the city limits for the nine-day festival. In keeping with tradition, Jeep management brought seven off-road concept vehicles to whet the appetites of the Safari fans.
Jeep Concept Vehicles at the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari
A gathering of thousands of loyal Jeep owners cannot be ignored by Jeep engineers and designers. Back in 2006, Jeep management realized that the Moab Easter Jeep Safari would be the perfect place to gain valuable feedback on the company’s future designs and arranged to take some of their concept vehicles to the event. The Jeep concepts proved to be so popular, they have become a Safari tradition. Letting the faithful see the concepts up close and watch them perform in their natural off-road habitat not only generates enthusiasm for the brand, but also gives the designers important feedback regarding future products.
“Every year, we look forward to introducing new concept vehicles and ideas to our enthusiasts. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari presents a unique and perfect opportunity to collect valuable insight from our most loyal customers,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand. This year, Jeep brought seven concept vehicles to Moab—let’s take a closer look.
Based on the Wrangler Rubicon, the Jeepster with its Firecracker red body and Bright White custom chopped hardtop evokes the wild colors and the speedy styling of the 1966 Jeepster. LED off-road lights mounted to the A-pillar and the brush guard illuminate the trail with up to 8,000 lumens. Although the windshield has been raked back 2.5 degrees, it can still fold down for open air driving. A 2-inch lift kit coupled with 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires mounted on beadlock capable 17-inch wheels accented with body-color beadlock trim rings, provide plenty of ground clearance for off-roading adventures.
This light, quick, and nimble concept is the latest in a long line of lightweight Easter Jeep Safari concepts and features custom weight-saving measures including a carbon fiber hood, high-clearance carbon fiber fender flares, and a carbon fiber rear tub with perforated aluminum panels. A raked windshield, elongated door openings and a swept back custom roll cage gives the 4SPEED an aggressive side profile. Approach and departure angles were increased by shortening the overall length by 22 inches while leaving the wheelbase at the stock length. Off-road capabilities are further bolstered by Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10 gear ratio, and 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires mounted on 18-inch lightweight monoblock wheels. Power is provided by a 2.0-liter inline four cylinder turbocharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Inspired by Baja desert racers, the Sandstorm concept is capable of blitzing long sandy straights, while still being able to handle daily driving duties. Making this possible is an extreme-duty suspension and a 6.4-liter V8 from the Mopar performance catalog mated to a 6-speed manual transmission that provides a powertrain with plenty of excess power on tap. The exterior features custom styling cues including a vented carbon fiber hood, vented high-clearance front and rear fender flares, and a roll cage that includes a rear-mounted, lay-down style spare tire carrier. Other Baja-inspired touches include high-clearance front and rear tube bumpers, modified rock rails, an integrated on-board air compressor, race-style KC Carbon-series front auxiliary lights and a chase light. Off-road travels are facilitated by reduced front and rear overhang, heavy-duty Dynatrac 60 axles with a 5.68 ratio, custom coilovers with bypass shocks that allow 14 inches of front wheel travel and up to 18 inches of rear wheel travel, and 39.5-inch BF Goodrich Krawler tires on 17-inch beadlock wheels. A racing-inspired instrument cluster and 7-inch off-road GPS unit handle navigation, while independent rocker switches control on-board electronics, air compressor, and axle lockers.
Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip
With a modified original Jeep Wagoneer steel body, this concept will stir up nostalgic memories of summer family vacations, while at the same time allowing you to go as far off-road as you desire. The original Wagoneer body is lengthened to stretch the wheelbase 5-inches and widened to accept a wider track with custom fender flares. Other styling tweeks include re-shaped wheel wells, bumpers and integrated rock rails. The frame is boxed and reinforced to accommodate Dana 44 front and rear axles with lockers, a four-link suspension with coilover springs, and 33-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires on 17-inch steel wheels. A razor grille freshens up the front fascia, while Bottle Green architectural glass replaces the original glazing. Power is supplied by a 5.7-liter V8 coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission.
What can you say about a concept Jeep named after a broiled tortilla chip with cheese and chili pepper? As it turns out, the Nacho Jeep is named after its rare Nacho yellow color, not for any particular gastronomical flavor. This concept serves as a rolling catalog loaded with selections from the Mopar Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) menu, offering a blueprint off-roaders can follow to create their own custom trail vehicles. The satin black Mopar grille contrasts nicely with the Nacho yellow body color, even without salsa. Superior trail visibility is delivered by A-pillar and brush guard-mounted LED lights from the Automotive Lighting division of Magneti Marelli that mount via JPP brackets. Extra forward illumination is provided by LED header lights that seal to the inside of the windshield. A rear off-road scouting light uses four-color LEDs to communicate trail conditions: stop (red); 1-3 miles per hour (amber); 3-25 mph (green); and a rear flood light (white). A 2-inch lift kit includes new 2.5-inch diameter aluminum-body shocks, while additional ground clearance is provided by oversize 37-inch tires on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels with satin carbon finish.
This concept is equipped with a variety of Jeep Performance Parts, such as a 1.5-inch lift kit, a roof rack, and rock rails for the ultimate off-road adventure. Exterior features include unique front and rear fascias, upper grille area, a hood with heat extractors, and wider fender flares. Seventeen inch wheels with a 30 mm offset are shod with BF Goodrich T/A Baja Champion tires. Power is provided by a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Based on a 4-door Wrangler Sahara, this concept is personalized with Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) to create a premium-style vehicle equally at home on off-road trails or urban cityscapes. For hardcore off-roaders, new 5-inch LED lights mount to the A-pillars with JPP brackets to deliver top-grade illumination. The trail details of the lights and a snorkel are balanced by the urban street-appeal of a Mopar black grille from a Wrangler Rubicon with body-color matching bezel trim. BF Goodrich KM3 tires are mounted on seventeen-inch slot-designed wheels finished in Brass Monkey. Black metal concept rock sliders and a matching black metal roof rack complete the off-road exterior. The interior features camel-colored Katzkin leather seats with stark brown piping, while the HVAC vents, door handles, and steering wheel have Brass Monkey trim and bezel accents.
We’d like to thank the folks at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America for their photographs and fine video of their concept vehicles displayed at this year’s Moab Easter Jeep Safari. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari for 2019 will take place on April 13 – 21. For additional information, please visit the Red Rock 4-Wheelers website.
FCA North America press release – http://media.fcanorthamerica.com/newsrelease.do?id=19073&mid=1
Red Rock 4-Wheelers – https://www.rr4w.com/event-details.cfm?eventid=12
Highway West Vacations – https://highwaywestvacations.com/blog/the-history-behind-the-moab-easter-jeep-safari
Photos and video credit: FCA North America